5 Apps for Motivation and Classroom Management

26 February 2017 / Leave a Comment
These fun apps should keep your students engaged in the lesson and behavior under control. These apps are great for classroom management.

Are you at a point in the year when it's getting harder to motivate and grab your students' attention? I've come across some fun apps that will help you with your class management. These apps should keep your students motivated, engaged in the lesson, and behavior under control.

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Teaching Kindness Matters: How to Encourage Kindness in Your Classroom

23 February 2017 / Leave a Comment
Teaching kindness is just as important as teaching any academics.

Choosing to always show kindness is a life-long challenge.  It takes a lot of practice and maturity to be able to set aside your initial reaction and choose to show kindness instead.  Eventually, kindness WILL be your initial reaction.  Isn't that the goal anyway?

There seems to be a lot of negativity around us, but you never need to look far to find kindness around you.  As teachers, we need to focus on that kindness, highlight it, and encourage more of it.  In the classroom, it is important to hold your class to a high standard of kindness.

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Character Resources for Reading

17 February 2017 / 1 comment
Resources for teaching characters in reading.
Characters are a huge part of reading. Most of our fiction texts have characters. I would go as far as saying characters are what make reading so much fun.
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Ideas Old and New for Working With Letters

14 February 2017 / Leave a Comment
Working with letters can be fun and engaging with students. It helps them to learn many of those important literacy skills and be ready to read

Do you have students who are still struggling to learn the letters of the alphabet? Or are you rethinking how you want your students to work with the alphabet next year? Using letters in different ways helps students learn and use the letters of alphabet in meaningful ways.

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Using Text Sets to Make Instruction Stick

10 February 2017 / Leave a Comment
Using Text Sets just got easier with this post. Check out how to form them, use them, and most importantly, why to use them

Do you have kiddos that seem to have a hard time remembering content? Or maybe your text book is just not accessible to your student due to the reading level? Well, one option you might consider using are text sets. Text sets are collections of books by topic that can be used to support teaching in the content areas. Today, I thought I'd share teaching strategies that work well with materials that you likely have within your buildings right now.
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Keeping Them Engaged!

08 February 2017 / Leave a Comment
Keep your students engaged and learning!

Is it possible to get an early case of Spring Fever?  I know that the groundhog saw his shadow, but my class is more active than usual!  We've had so many rainy days, it's challenging to keep them focused!

This year's group is a little more "active" than in previous year!  I have to be very intentional about the structure of my day, making sure I try to get my students up and moving and staying engaged!   Whenever I see the wiggles starting (it spreads like wildfire) I get them up and moving with GoNoodle, of course!  If you aren't a GoNoodler, you have to sign up for a free account!

Get your students moving and learning with frequent brain breaks!

Of course, I can't just have them GoNoodle all day, although that would be nice!  I try to create lots of opportunities to move and groove while we learn throughout the day!

I start right away with our morning meeting!  We meet on the carpet and do our morning greeting. This greeting is usually associated with moving to music, high-fiving friends, walking a path around the room, etc.

But obviously we need to teach the core subjects, right?

Children love to play games, so let them play! There are so many great ways to reinforce the concepts you are teaching in class.  This can be in the shape of partner games, small group or whole class!  Make it fun and they will learn! Some people might say I'm sneaky, but I think I'm just clever, creative, and brilliant...tricky, and a little sneaky!

Partners

Here's a quick and easy game to play with a deck of cards!
Go Fish for 10
All you need is a deck of cards with all the face cards removed (or they can be wild) Students take turns "fishing" for missing addends to make 10.  For example, if a child has a 2, he/she asks their partner for an 8.  This is a great way to reinforce sums to 10!

This freebie only requires a simple deck of playing cards!
Click to access this Freebie!

Small Group

Small groups are great for reinforcing concepts!  I usually teach these myself or with a parent volunteer.  Once my students are comfortable with the game, I move it to an independent center or early finisher choice! The key is engagement!  If they enjoy the game and get to "play" with friends, they're engaged! Dice games, Roll and Cover, Write/Read/Add the Room are all great ways to get your students moving and/or keep them engaged in learning!  One of my class favorites is using big dice!  Is there anything better than oversized dice? Well, maybe mini-dice, but dice are AWESOME!

My students use these to roll a number and then fill in 10 more, 10 less, 1 more and 1 less!  Great practice and this can be modified for partner play or small group.  I have both small and large mats on hand depending on what the situation calls for.  These cuties finished their work and are working playing "Fill-it-in" in a group of 3!  They are happily engaged in play...but they're practicing Common Core Standards and reinforcing important concepts!  Win-win!

Students practice 10 more, 10 less, 1 more, 1 less while playing and having fun with partners!
Click above for a Freebie!

Students practice 10 more, 10 less, 1 more, 1 less while playing and having fun with partners!

Whole Class

Once in a while, you just have to get the entire class engaged!  It's time to pull out SCOOT!  

My kids love this game!  I put on some music, lay out cards on everyone's desks and we scoot around doing oodles of math practice...but they just think we're playing a game!  This is in the plans for Valentine's Day...you know it will be one of our "fun games" that we get to play!

Get your whole class moving and learning while playing and reinforcing math concepts!

I hope you'll try out some of these freebies with your students!  Add these to your toolbelt or when you just need to try something new and different!  Changing up your normal centers and routines can increase student engagement right away!

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Spelling Gone Digital: Never Grade Spelling Again!

05 February 2017 / Leave a Comment

 I have reached the point in my school year where I feel like I have a good handle on grading and the amount that I need to do each day to keep up with the paperwork that comes along with 75-4th grade ELA students.  I LOVE teaching language arts!  There is absolutely no other subject on earth that I would rather teach, but I know we can all agree that teaching ELA comes with lots of projects, written responses, and writing to evaluate.

One thing that has been a blessing for me this year is the work we do with spellingcity.com  If you have never utilized this FREE spelling and vocabulary tool, go there now and explore.  I promise it will make your life easier and your school bag a whole lot lighter.

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Need Indoor Recess Ideas?

02 February 2017 / Leave a Comment

Indoor recess... It's as dreaded by teachers as it is students. They want to get out and play. We desperately need them to get the wiggles out so they can focus on learning. With the right indoor recess activities, you can have your students looking forward to indoor recess days instead of dreading them. Lucky for us, there are tons of indoor games and activities you can do right inside your classroom that will help your students let off some steam and be ready to learn again. 

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A Tall Tales Project Your Students Will NEVER Forget

29 January 2017 / Leave a Comment
Do you teach your students about tall tales? Check out this fun way to wrap up a unit by having your students write their own tall tale and turn it into a TALL masterpiece. Free Google Doc & Word template included for students to type their stories!

Do you teach Tall Tales?

One of my favorite ways to wrap up a tall tales unit is having students write their own tall tale and publishing their stories as TALL creations. I first discovered this incredible idea from Layers of Learning who provides wonderful resources for the activity in THIS blog post. Since then, I have seen many similar tall tale creations all around Pinterest. Therefore I am not sure who exactly to credit for this adorable activity!
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6 Strategies for Reteaching

26 January 2017 / Leave a Comment
Six strategies to try while you reteach a concept. The 2nd one is so powerful!!
Are you struggling with what to do while reteaching a concept to your students? Try these six strategies to beef up your reteach, and make your students feel like rockstars!
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